Help me, Assist me, Protect me - Perspectives on Security Providers in Somaliland

Maria Vargas Simojoki

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This paper explores security provision in the state of Somaliland. More specifically it looks into which security providers are present and which are people utilising. At the same time it goes into looking at how different groups access security providers and whether their choices can provide perspectives on why these providers might be chosen by specific groups. This paper presents an overall discussion into how different groups view security providers and how historical, social or cultural aspects might precondition their access. Theoretically speaking an emphasis is placed on trying to see how actors define the categories themselves, what is considered a crime or a dispute, and how these categorisations are linked to security provision. Going into more detail, the main research question of this paper is: Which are the security providers that the population of Somaliland utilise and what is the impact of this on access to provision of security? In order to answer this question two different approaches were utilised: one of them quantitative and one qualitative. The quantitative data was collected by the Danish Demining Group (DDG) through their Community Safety Assessment (CSA) and provides the basis for examining which are the security providers the population utilises? Through a statistical analysis of the data it is possible to come to the following conclusions: • The main security providers in Somaliland are traditional leaders, the police and religious leaders • Out of these three, the main providers of security are traditional leaders and the police. • There are groups that because of their composition, for example as minority clans, express very varying opinions to other groups in terms of their choices of security providers. The disparities can be seen in: minority clans, urban-rural relations, students, and women of different professions – housewives and traders. Qualitative analysis and looking at these groups and their access to security provision through different perspectives helped identify the main areas which impact access to security providers, which are: • Access to representation: throughout the different perspectives in different groups it became clear that access to representation through traditional leaders is conditioned to status. Therefore groups that do not have access to status, such as women, youth or minorities, will not have access to equal representation by the traditional leaders. • Difficulties in access: groups might have difficulties in at all accessing security providers. This is mainly the case for minorities as their status is preconditioned to historical and social developments, which did not allow them to access traditional leaders. At the same time, there is a question of actual physical access for other groups – such as rural inhabitants, coupled with a historical over reliance of the state on traditional structures in areas in which they cannot provide security. • Multiplicity of actors: Somaliland has three parallel legal systems that operate without competing with each other. Though this allows a certain amount of forum shopping, there are no standards as to how the different systems operate in regards to different groups. There is no pattern or regulation as to the outcome, which puts certain groups, such as women, in a disadvantage as they cannot navigate through the different systems and might be pressurised into utilising one security provider, as they are not informed of others. As part of looking into security provision this paper also examines in depth elements of security provision like the categorisation of crimes and disputes. With the multiple systems available in Somaliland crimes or disputes do not have rigid definitions and the paper gives perspectives on how these categories are defined in Somaliland.

UddannelserInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jan. 2010


  • security providers
  • authorities
  • Somalia/SOmaliland